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NCAA Proposes New Rule to Let Early NBA Draft Entrants Come Back to School

Logic? Out of college sports? What is this sorcery?!

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Boeheim's never shy to speak his mind (obviously). And while you can choose to agree or disagree with his general point of view on some things, there's one very important thing he's been 100-percent correct on.

The NCAA's process around early entries for the NBA Draft has to change.

Based on a report today, it very well might -- in time for the 2016 NBA Draft.

The proposal, reported by ESPN, would be an enormous step forward for the NCAA's process and would actually (somehow!) benefit student-athletes, as well as NCAA programs AND NBA teams (at least in my opinion). The basics: underclassmen would be able to go the pre-draft combine in May and get an honest evaluation from scouts there, before making their final decisions about whether or not to enter the draft. Currently, early entrants need to decide by April 27 whether to enter or not, all while avoiding contact with NBA franchises.

With the new proposal, which was a joint effort by the NCAA, National Association of Basketball Coaches and the NBA (teamwork?!?!), those stipulations are gone and players would be able to get much more insight as to their pro prospects before ultimately taking themselves out of the college game.


Now, personally, I think that this is a big win for the players in particular, and could change a whole lot of outcomes when it comes to early-entrant decision-making. But I'm just one person. And others may not feel the same way. One of those "others" is our own Kevin Wall:

I think the players who declare have a good idea about their draft status already, and it's going to be hard for many to wait to sign an agent, since the agents are the ones working to get them picked by certain teams, or to land overseas roster spots. Based on what we see right now from the rule. is going to the NBA combine going to be enough to get a player to hold off on signing with an agent?

For those who don't sign, they are going to be unable to do the NBA tour like Rakeem Christmas is doing now, and those workouts where they are going head to head with other guys at their positions has been huge for draft status lately.  Without funding from an agent to do this, players would be at a disadvantage (unless the rule is expanded to allow teams to cover travel expenses for the players). I believe that this rule would need to be broader to end up reducing the number of early-entry guys by a significant number.

John: I'd counter that we're already past the proposed deadline a this point anyway, so any player fully confident in their place in the draft would now be able to pursue a similar scouting tour. This proposal would just let them get an extra month of evaluation and time, plus actual contact with teams, which is currently off-limits

Kevin: You're right about contact with teams, but if you look at the dates of the combine, players are going to miss most of those team workouts, which I still think are more important for the bubble guys. Let's use Rak for an example again. If he was a junior and on the cusp of being a first-round guy, does he come back to SU, or does he stay in the draft in the hopes that his workouts push him into the late first?  I think this new rule will mean some guys return, but not in large numbers because for many of the guys in that position, their age works against them.

Even if we take other guys with eligibility like the Harrisons (Kentucky's Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison), would going to the Draft Combine and hearing that they are second round picks push them back to Kentucky to fight for minutes with the next group of High School All-Americans? Don't get me wrong, I see this change having value, but it is not the same as the MLB or NHL Draft rules. It's a step in the right direction, a step towards common sense, and most importantly, it shows that the NBA and NCAA can come together and hopefully that continues.

John: Right, no I agree with you. I think the biggest names are going to leave no matter what they hear (unless they hear they're not getting drafted for some reason). And if you're at Kentucky, you have the additional factor of large, talented, incoming recruiting classes. But if you go to Syracuse and you're a guy like Jerami Grant, do you leave if evaluations have you going in the second? If you're Tyler Ennis, do you leave if you're not a lottery guy? I honestly don't know. But I think that pro evaluators would be able to shed more light for these kids and their families to make the best decision. If that decision still results in coming back, then that's just fine too.

Kevin: Making the best decision is the ultimate goal and I would prefer to see this proposal taken further. For now, let's let any player who goes undrafted and doesn't sign with an agent, the option to return to school and continue their eligibility. I'd like to see this happen with every sport because if we are really trying to promote education, why force athletes into these decisions without a fallback option?

John: Completely agree. It's a step, but not the LAST step toward the best result for student-athletes, in particular.


So what do you think? Great for everyone or just some parties involved? Weigh in below.